Reseller security channels are a dying breed: F-Secure CEO

The cybersecurity market in India is a fast- growing business for F-Secure.

“We almost doubled our India business last year over 2016. It is safe to say that we are growing much faster than the market as India has turned out to be a strong market for us,” says Samu Konttinen, President & CEO, F-Secure Corporation on India visit.

The Finland headquartered security vendor F-Secure has aggressive plans for 2017. “We want to continue the momentum and grow at least three times faster than market in India this year. The enhanced focus on cyber security in the Government sector will be a major growth propellant,” he says.

Also Read: Endpoint security is the new sexy: F-Secure CEO

A 100 per cent channel led business model by F-Securer delivers solutions in the B2B space to secure organizations across the globe. “Our channel ecosystem is increasingly constituted of service oriented resellers. The reseller channels who just resell are a dying breed,” says Samu.

“Channels without services approach will die out sooner than expected. We are aligning with many channel companies into the managed security space who have ‘services mindset’ for the security needs of the end-organizations,” he adds.

We are aligning with many channel companies into the managed security space who have ‘services mindset’ for the security needs of the end-organizations.

Modern IT will transform much more into services-led business models, he observes. The cyber threats are becoming more complex and channels with hands-down approach and security domain experts will survive today’s digital era, he says.

F-Secure globally majorly caters to the mid-market space and not the high end enterprise.  “However we are here bit more skewed towards enterprise accounts in India versus global average perhaps because of the market maturity in that segment for our business,”he adds.The sweet spot for F-secure is small and medium size companies including India market. “We are keener on the local enterprises than the 50000 user organization spread over say 50 countries. We are not trying to go after very big companies,” says Samu.

Samu says that segment target definition varies according to geographies. “In Germany, we are a mid-market player while a 5000 user organization is defined as mid-market in the US. We have many big customers in India too. Local enterprise is the ideal definition of our target customer set.  

Would F-Secure appoint much more channel partners to increase the market share in India? "We are a small company compared to the security giants in the marketplace. We don’t have a problem in having too many partners as there is no over distribution for F-Secure today,” he clarifies, “Today we want to engage with more partners but it is about focusing on the right type of partners.”

F-Secure is constantly designing products with innovative features suitable for service providers and that benefit the end customers. Channels should not only talk about security to the end customers but talk more about business automation, efficiency and competitive edge, “he says.

Besides the wide portfolio of end point protection and security management solutions, the new solution launched in mid of 2016 will be a value-add to channels' business.” F-Secure’s rapid detection service in managed detection space is a path breaking technology. We are working on many cases wherein the customers have bought the security gear from other vendors but they see merit in deploying rapid detection service at customers' end,” he says.

What would be Samu’s advice for channel partners in India? “Services approach should be first most for channels (mainly resellers). The word channel is underestimated as we treat them as business partner with lead generation and do more hand holding generate leads for partners,” he says.

F-Secure wants to work together with its channels on a long term perspective. Some security vendors are super happy to deal with channels to get new customers. But more often they optimize the funnel, bypass the channels and work directly later on, “he says.

We are super consistent and there are no exceptions with our channel policy, he says. “We are not as big as other security brands and hence we depend on our channels as hands and feet into the market.”

Many vendors that are over distributed in India and other markets win the deal by lowering the solutions’ prices through their channels as per Samu. “We want to secure good margins for channels versus the competition. Our channels know that in the security areas we compete our products are equally good and better than others,” says Samu at F-Secure.


Samu’s 5 channel mantras

1. Transition from reseller towards a ‘services approach’ model.

2. Align long-term with a vendor with clear rules of engagement.

3. Channels are business partners than just fulfilment companies.

4. Don’t lower prices of the over-distributed vendor’s products.

5. Feature-rich, simple-to-use technology yields greater margins.

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